Nigeria is targeting US$5 billion in mining investments over the next decade under a new industry road map as part of a drive to diversify revenue.When you think about ‘popular’ mining destinations in Africa, which countries come to mind - is Nigeria one of them?

Naturally those with a strong mining history - such as South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia - or alternatively, you might think of countries which have in more recent years seen a significant increase in mining activity – Burkina Faso or perhaps even Tanzania for example (let’s not mention the legislative changes).

AUTHOR: Editor of Mining Review Africa, Laura Cornish.

From a mining magazine editor’s perspective, I naturally gravitate towards these countries because there is a variety of content to choose from and provide for our readers.

Because we are the premier media partner for Nigeria Mining Week, which will take place in Abuja from 16 – 19 October 2017, we decided to take a closer look at this country.

Admittedly, it was a little harder to find information, especially considering Nigeria’s mining sector is undeveloped and there are few projects or mines to write about.

It has after all always been an oil-focused region.

Nigeria has a variety of undeveloped mineral deposits across the country including tin, columbite coal, barite, bentonite, gold, bitumen, limestone, iron ore, tantalite, granite, gem stones, lead, silver, lithium, gypsum and marble.

It is estimated that there are 44 different types of minerals in 500 locations across the country.

This sector will generate more revenue to Nigeria if given the needed attention, which the government is presently trying to do states Aminu Suleman Takuma, deputy director, co-ordinator, zonal offices, state co-ordination department, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).

To help achieve these targets, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), formerly the Ministry of Solid Minerals, is recommitting to investment incentives, rolling out regulatory changes and increasing access to financing.

The recently unveiled roadmap maintains the three-year tax holiday, as well as exemptions on import duties for mining equipment – incentives first implemented under the previous administration, but re-authorised in the new road-map.

The government would continue to allow 100% foreign ownership in the sector.

The roadmap also stipulates the creation of a new independent regulatory agency which will assume the collective roles of the existing regulatory bodies in the sector, including the Inspectorate, Environmental Compliance and the Artisans and Small Scale units of the ministry.

This in turn will allow the MMSD to focus on facilitating investment and development. This regulatory agency is already in place.

Plans are also under way to make more funds available for investors, with the Federal Executive Council approving a N$30 million ($98 522) mining intervention fund in last year in mid-October.

In addition, the partly state-owned Bank of Industry has pledged to increase financing in the sector.

It has been an eye-opening experience to truly delve into a country which has now put mining on its map and doing everything in its power to encourage growth and participation.

Again, I find it truly admirable when considering how South Africa’s government seems intent on pushing investment away through its attempts to introduce legislative-type mandates that make it almost impossible for companies to comply.

I am excited for Nigeria and see a great future for the country’s mining sector – and I will ensure that Mining Review Africa will be at the forefront of staying abreast of developments and tracking its successes in the coming years.

Feature image credit: Wikimedia Commons